3 Tips for Women Traveling Solo
Planning to do some solo traveling, but a little concerned about being a woman alone in an unfamiliar place?
Not to worry. We gathered advice from travel experts including Jennifer Vander Lind of Women Traveling the World and Debbie Ross of Womens Travel Network on making your solo-woman journey safe, secure and enjoyable.
WHN Expert TIP: In search of female-friendly European sites to explore? Travel and Leisure’s The Best Places for Women to Travel Solo slideshow highlights some destinations to add to your list, such as the very walkable city of Barcelona, Spain, the friendly city of Munich, Germany, the historic city of Dubrovnik, Croatia and the peaceful solitude of Norway’s fjords.
1. Use Social Media
According to the Booking.com Solo Travel Report, women travelers surveyed used social media not just to keep in touch with those back home but also to find some off-the-beaten path places to visit. If you’re looking for a female-oriented online community, TravelRanked has a list of the 7 Best Social Networks for Female Travelers: The Solo Female Traveler Network, BestSingleTravel, Wanderful, Pinktrotters, She Roams Solo, Tourlina and The Blonde Abroad Travel Tribe.
But while social media can be a great information source, standard data plans don’t include connecting to networks in other countries, reports Lifewire. Instead, your phone goes into the far more expensive data roaming mode. Avoid this by turning off the data roaming feature or even all cellular data (just to be on the safe side). You can also sign up for an international data plan with your carrier—a good choice if you’ll be getting online frequently during your trip and prefer not to find (or use) open WiFi networks. (Be sure to pack an international power adaptor for your phone!)
2. Opt for a Group Tour
If you’re new to solo traveling, being part of a small group tour, like Vander Lind’s Women Traveling the World, can relieve you of the work of planning your trip. And while you can enjoy the company of traveling companions, you’ll also have free time to explore on your own.
Group tours also offer safety and security, “which is important to women and especially to the family members of the solo traveler,” says Ross. “When traveling with a reputable tour group, everyone feels at ease which allows solo travelers to enjoy their experience without having to worry about logistics and safety.”
Another advantage to being part of a group tour is the money you can save by sharing a room with another member of the tour to avoid the premium fee (also called a “single supplement”) charged to single travelers. This also gives you the opportunity to form new friendships, says Ross. “For those newly widowed or divorced, this can open up a new world to them.”
3. Be Smart About Safety
Whether on your own or part of a group, safety must be your number one priority. “Always check for travel alerts at your intended destination and stay in populated areas where quality hotels are,” says Vander Lind. “Have a friend or family know your exact itinerary and check in through the day. And don’t dress like a tourist.”
Ross recommends planning your route in advance so you are familiar with the area where you are staying. “Pre-book your arrival transfer with a reputable company, especially if arriving in the evening, and pre-book your first couple of nights in a hotel that has good ratings. And ask for a room near the elevator to avoid walking down a long hallway late at night,” she adds. Once in your room, use the safety locks on the doors and lock your valuables in the safe if provided.
Heading out to sightsee? Tuck your hotel’s business card into your pocket or wallet. “This might seem silly, but when traveling and especially if you are jet-lagged, the information can slip your mind,” says Ross. Then hold your valuables close to your body “and never wear your knapsack on your back. Wear a money belt under your clothes to keep your valuables safe,” she says.
WHN TIP – Overseas Trip? Sign up with STEP: U.S. residents should register with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to get alerts if something happens in the country you’re visiting. Also, know where the nearest American Embassy is located—just in case!
For More Information
Traveling overseas? Our Tips for First-Time Overseas Travelers post has useful first-person advice.
More travel tips can be found on the Women Traveling the World’s Ladies FAQs page.
Photo Credit: Samuel Foster